Bible Reading: 1 John 2:1-6
“And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments” (1 John 2:3)
What causes us to doubt our salvation? A common reason is that we keep falling for the same temptation over and over again. For example, maybe we are stuck in the habit of procrastinating. We delay our responsibilities to the point where our life feels like playing catch-up, and as a result, we have little or no time to think about God or His Word. On the other hand, maybe pride causes us to boast in self-confidence or to wallow in self-pity. We can’t help but think we are superior to everyone, or we think we are useless and not good enough for anything.
Because we seem stuck in our sin and God seems distant from our lives, a still small voice in our hearts may question, am I really saved? Is this all to being a Christian? Where is the joy and peace that Jesus promised?
Firstly John answers by affirming this one truth; that Jesus Christ is our righteous advocate before the Father. Jesus has died for all our sins past, present and future. Jesus is the propitiation for our sins which means Jesus is the sacrifice that bore God’s wrath and turned wrath in favour.
If Jesus did not die, then yes, when we sinned again the other day, we put ourselves deeper into hell. But, because of what Christ has done, we have been reconciled with God. We are no longer separated from God. Even when we sin again, there is always hope to return to God because Christ has covered all our sins. If you are stuck in sin, don’t think it’s the end. Don’t think God has abandoned you. The gospel message is for you. God saves the worst of sinners, and He is mighty to save even you. If we want to humbly turn back to Him and repent, there is hope.
How then do we know we are saved? John says that those who have come to know God keep His commandments. We don’t obey God’s laws to be saved. However, those who are saved will obey God’s law. The test is simple, then. Wherever you are in your relationship with God, do you want to obey Him now? Despite your doubts, do you want to trust and obey Him now?
A very simple command that God gives can be found in James 4:8a, which says, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” Maybe we doubt God because we have not drawn near to Him? Drawing near to God involves leaving behind whatever sin is hindering us. It involves asking God’s forgiveness and strength to change. It involves making time to read and meditate on God’s Word and putting this as our top priority. These are practical steps of obedience we can do now.
A sign of a true believer is that their hearts genuinely desire to obey God. They may be weak, and outwardly it seems as if they produce no fruit, but their innermost desire is to trust and obey God. They are like Simon Peter, whom Jesus asked three times, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” (John 21:16). Peter must have been ashamed of such a question because he had denied Jesus three times. His actions showed that he did not love Jesus. He would have thought himself to be a failure. But deep down, Peter knew he loved Jesus. Peter longed to obey Jesus and follow Him. Quietly Peter responded, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you”.
God knows our hearts. He knows what we truly think about Him. Be honest with yourself and with God. Do you love Him? If you do, ask Him to help you obey His commandments. Those who are His obey His commandments.
Lord, You know the deepest part of my heart. Although my life may be fruitless and sin seems to be my best friend, You know that I love You. I want to obey You, trust You and be renewed by You. Please help me to obey Your commandments. Help me make it my priority to spend time with You in Your Word because it is Your Word that can change me. Have mercy on me and remember what Christ has done for me on the cross to be the propitiation for my sins and the sins of the whole world. In Jesus’ name, amen.